A staggering amount of food is wasted at Christmas. This burdens landfill, pollutes the environment, and harms the earth God loves. Start change in our communities at your dining table.
Across the UK food waste rates increase by up to 80% at Christmas. Change begins in our kitchens and shopping trolleys. As God’s people in the parish churches of Ampfield, Chilworth and North Baddesley, let’s start a change for good this Christmas in our communities.
Here are some practical tips:
- Don’t buy what you don’t need. Using a shopping list is known to help families buy what they need to and no more.
- Unsure about cooking, what to cook or how much you need? Ask someone who knows! It sounds really simple, and it is. Research for a leading supermarket reported in The Guardian showed that uncertainty about cooking was one major thing that led to waste. Church locally is a big family - and around the world a very big one. Treat it like one and if you haven’t got folk to ask in your own family we’d encourage you to ask around in church!
- Live off your left overs. Left overs make lovely food, as previous generations know. It needn’t take any longer than cooking from fresh. Plan your meals and throwing out food becomes a thing of the past. Try https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ for ideas
- Freeze what you can’t use. Freezing can help extend the useful life of food a long way. Remember that you can freeze may things during different stages in their preparation, not only when they are finally finished. Here’s the formal advice from the UK government
- Share when you have more than you need. Don’t assume neighbours, whether young or old are doing well when it comes to food. Ask whether they would like a meal if you’ve got some to spare.
The definitive local advice for Hampshire is www.hants.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/recycleforhampshire and the associated Twitter account is great too @RecycleHants.
Reflections on throwing away food
‘Throwing away food’ Pope Francis said in 2013 is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry’. The waste of good food is an injustice that springs up in the most industrialised nations FAO statistics show. Throwing edible, or once edible food away at household level is rightly an unthinkable practice in most of the world. Earlier year in the Church of England, Revd Andrew Dotchin spoke passionately at General Synod about how wasting food runs directly counter to the ‘Biblical principle of ensuring that the poor and vulnerable are not excluded from the harvest’. In our country there is a double tragedy: the ‘wanton waste from our tables’ exists alongside food poverty.
“This world is not ours to wantonly despoil and destroy. It is the gift of God and, through its fecundity and beauty, it is one of the chief ways in which God speaks to all nations regardless of their faith or lack thereof. Destroy it, abuse it and we silence the voice of God in places where the word of the Church cannot be heard.”
Check out what’s happening in the rest of the earth
The Food and Agriculture organisation https://reliefweb.int/organization/fao updates, or indeed the home page of https://reliefweb.int/ an information exchange for humanitarians shows just how many countries are affected by food shortages. Key terms for exploring further on the www: ‘food insecurity’, ‘hunger gap’, ‘malnutrition’, ‘food assistance’, ‘food transfer’, ‘agricultural productivity’